Thinking of others' grief this morning

I want my writing to have substance. Occasionally I go to that place and write a true gem. Mostly in this blog I don't; I just skip from detail to detail, chronicling the less robust elements from my life. Is it a way to keep myself separate? A way to hold those walls as high as I possibly can...keep myself from having to connect more than I want to with those outside my tight inner circle? I don't know that this writing will be a gem, and likely it won't. But at least there's a little of the substance I crave.

Five minutes ago I realized that at a single moment, some atypical elements were converging in my mind at once: I am thinking about Kelli, a woman with whom I was casual friends in high school, whom I didn't know very well at all but whom I observed to be exceedingly kind. I learned last night that Kelli died this weekend. What seems to have affected me is my concern for those who DID know and love Kelli - in her current life. I've experienced great loss at various times in my life and nothing prepares us. Especially when that loss involves a thirty-something woman whom I was told had recently married, began a fairly new job and was recently observed to be very excited by her life and its possibilities.

I process these thoughts in a mostly internal manner. I'm more prone to write of my feelings than to speak of them - even on a blog, which is much like speaking since others will read what I say. And I read. I look for other experiences to connect my own feelings to. Then I find music that centers me.

So I mentioned the elements that were converging in my mind. While Kelli's passing is in the back of my mind and I try and gather my thoughts around what exactly it is that I'm feeling, I hear the music I've chosen for this morning. I hear Seal telling me, in Prayer for the Dying, that "Life goes on." At exactly the moment I read these words, a quote, from Sid Smith's Bog Book Blog: The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion:

“Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.”

From these opening words of her book, the first words she wrote some five months after his death, Didion recounts how she was hurled from the rational world of certainty into the chaotic anguish of loss, grief and mourning.

I'm going to finish readig Sid Smith's entry regarding this book my roommate bought and offered to loan me. I love Didion's writing and had elected not to read this one yet, for the very reason that it was too heavy at the time and I needed something just a bit lighter. I think I want to read it now. I've been looking for something to take on the plane to Seattle Wednesday. I may have found the solution to that still unanswered question. 

But backing up, I sit and think again, what triggered my need to write something more substantive after my "fluffly little entry" this morning, on a Monday especially. It was that moment. When the words "Life changes fast" are in front of my eyes, and Seal's words "Life goes on" in my ears. While in my mind, I see Kelli walking beside me on the track during a lunch break that might have been in the eighth grade when we moved in the large circle to fill the time with laughter and conversation on a sunny day.

I don't know what to do with all these thoughts and feelings this morning. I know there are deadlines to meet, same as always, and packing and bills to pay. And tidying and laundry. But in this moment, these things seem very, very trivial...